Select board remembers Jeff Norton

Town moderator Jeff Norton, who died Saturday, was remembered by the Edgartown select board with a moment of silence. — MV Times

At their Monday meeting, the Edgartown select board observed a moment of silence for longtime Edgartown resident, attorney, and former town meeting moderator Jeff Norton, who passed away at age 84 on Saturday.

Norton grew up in Edgartown, select board chair Margaret Serpa said. “He knew everybody. [He] was always in town, and was always friendly and pleasant … he was a wonderful moderator.”

“He would greet you on the street,” Serpa continued, “and answer any questions you had.”

Select board member Arthur Smadbeck recalled meeting Norton upon first moving to Edgartown in 1990. “I was nervous as hell going into his office the first time,” Smadbeck said, adding that he quickly found that Norton was “very kind, and very generous with his advice … he had it on real estate, he had it on politics, he had it on the town.”

Not only was he a valuable mentor, Smadbeck added, “his wit was beyond comparison; [he] always had something funny to say.”

“I will miss him tremendously,” Smadbeck said, “I do miss him tremendously.” 

Select board member Michael Donaroma harkened to Norton’s time moderating at town meetings. Not only was Norton an extremely efficient moderator, Donaroma said, “he kept a sense of humor so we could get things done … No matter how long the meetings were, he never had to go back a second night.” 

Additionally, Donaroma said, “No matter how controversial a subject might be, [Norton] always had a funny comment or sense of humor. I think it was because he knew everybody in town; he knew their childhood … He knew what they complained about at the last meeting.”

“He and his family have done so much for the town,” Donaroma added, “He will be missed.”


  1. It is what happens in life the old guard leave us and this old guard has left us in good hands. Wonderful dry sense of humor that always made you think. Jeff did well for Edgartown, Martha’s Vineyard and the Norton name. Fair winds on your journey

  2. So sorry to hear of Jeff’s passing. My husband greatly admired and appreciated him. My thoughts and sympathy to his family. Sincerely, Anna Alley

  3. Jeff Norton was a really great person. My husband always enjoyed playing golf with him. His quiet, dry wit was something we looked forward to when ever we stopped by his office with a legal question….and those long, sometimes boring town meetings punctuated occasionally with Jeff’s humorous thoughts made staying through the whole meeting worthwhile! God bless him!

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